A soldier’s tales
: Just got email sending me to a pretty amazing blog by a soldier in Baghdad. I now see that the email came from that soldier. Glad he sent it. Just to take one post as an example, the bloggers writes about helping a soldier under his command with an SAT question and the soldier comes back in later to ask an uncomfortable question:
What SPC Frances said as he sheepishly stood before my desk staring at the floor was ìSir, youíre like, ummmm, you know, really smart. And youíre doing this when you could ummmm, you know, so many other things. Donít you wish you were, ummm doing something better?î.
The question is one Iíve heard from several well meaning individuals, but never, ever from a soldier…. The first deadly lie is that soldiers are stupid. The second is that the Army is a dumping ground for people with no other options….
…I told him about how part of my heart chipped off when I looked into a mass grave in Bosnia. How for days after my dreams were clouded with an image of the very earth opening a yawning pit to engulf the dead, only to choke on their numbers and leave them on the surface half swallowed…. And the story that did not need telling, the story of our ongoing struggle with insurgents who revel in the misery and deaths they cause our forces and the Iraqis.
…I told SPC Frances to close his eyes and I would tell him why. As he closed his eyes I told him to imagine his young wife, his beautiful infant daughter and the future he wanted for them. He paused a moment and a smile slowly creased his face. As he looked up I caught his eyes and told him a simple truth. I told him that the thin line that separates the two realities isnít a line on a map or the signature block on a document filled with hollow proclamations. The dividing line between the two kingdoms is a long line of soldiers. And that is why Iím proud to call myself a soldier. Its not about a lack of options, or the size of my paycheck. Its about what kind of world I want to leave for my children if I am lucky enough to be a father.